Difference Between AA and Al Anon

AA and Al Anon are communities for alcoholism treatment for an individual and his family respectively. However, the two terms are often confused to mean the same.

AA vs Al Anon

The main difference between AA and Al Anon is that AA meetings involve discussions on topics related to alcoholism. On the other hand, Al Anon topics that circle around effective ways of dealing with a family member subject to alcoholism. To become a member of the AA community, a person should have a drinking problem and a strong desire to quit the same. In contrast, to attend Al-Anon meetings, a person needs to have a close family member who is an alcoholic.

AA vs Al Anon

Initially founded on the principles of Oxford Group, AA is an informal group without any trained additional professionals or mental health experts. Currently, there are about 100000 AA communities across the globe.

Founded by Anne W. and Louis B., Al Anon refers to community groups that circle around the social issue of alcoholism. There is no educational or age requirement to qualify as a member.

Comparison Table Between AA and Al Anon

Parameters of ComparisonAAAl Anon
DefinitionAA is an open forum for individuals suffering from alcoholism to give up the habit.Al Anon refers to community groups designed for family members of individuals suffering from alcoholism.
Membership Criterion An alcoholic with a determination to give up drinking can become a member of the AA community. A sibling, parent, spouse or any other relative of individuals suffering from alcoholism can attend Al Anon meetings.  
Religious Affiliation AA has a more significant affiliation to religion than Al Anon. Al Anon has a less Significant religious affiliation than AA. 
Aim It serves as a support group for people who are determined to give up their drinking habits. It serves as a support group for the spouse, parents, siblings or other relatives of the people with a drinking problem. 
Activity ExamplesThe gatherings involve discussions on topics or prompts related to alcoholism. The gatherings involve discussions on topics like honesty, forgiveness, enabling and so on. 

What is AA?

Also called Alcoholics Anonymous, AA is an informal group without any trained additional professionals or mental health experts. The community assists people to give up drinking.

AA is a self-supporting community where people in recovery help themselves and each other. AA help groups are found everywhere today.

Most AA meetings are open to all. However, some of them are limited only to the members. The topic of discussion in an AA meeting is usually related to alcoholism.

AA groups are sometimes categorised as Christian groups. However, they are open to differing views and beliefs. The AA community is faith-based.

What is Al Anon?

Derived from the first syllables of Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon assists siblings, parents, spouses, and other relatives of those people who have an alcohol problem.

Al-Anon has a foundation on the same principles as those of AA. There is no educational or age requirement to qualify as a member. The meetings may be private or public.

Some topics for Al-Anon meetings include gaining courage, denial issues, acceptance, changing attitudes, detachment, feelings of emptiness, enabling, dealing with change, making choices, honesty, focusing on oneself, self-esteem, and the importance of forgiveness.

There are usually no one on one meetings. Based on a discussion of topics or prompts, Al-Anon meetings have a visible advantage for the family of individuals suffering from an alcohol problem. 

Main Differences Between AA and Al Anon

  1. To become a member of the AA community, a person should have a drinking problem and a strong desire to quit alcohol. In contrast, to attend Al-Anon meetings, a person needs to have a close family member who is an alcoholic.
  2. AA serves as a support group for people who are determined to give up their drinking habits. In contrast, Al-Anon serves as a support group for the spouse, parents, siblings or other relatives of the people with a drinking problem. 

Conclusion

The differences between AA and Al Anon highlight the fact that the two are considerably different. The defining feature, membership condition, basic purpose, and topics of discussion of each community convey its distinction.

The communities offer mutual support to everyone who attends the sessions. Conclusively, both AA and Al Anon meetings have been successful in helping individuals with alcoholism and their relatives. 

References

  1. https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD005032.pub2/abstract 
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1556035X.2012.705713 
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